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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What size is your tank? 10g
What temperature is your tank? Seems to stay about 78F
Does your tank have a filter? Tetra Whisper PF10, with a (cleaned) midsection of plastic bottle diverting the current to the sides.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Used to use a bubbler, but it seemed to do nothing but make the water appear cloudy and create extra current.
Is your tank heated? Yes. It has a cheapo heater that came with my 10g tank kit, cannot change the temperature up or down on it.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 5 Neon Tetra, 3 African Dwarf Frog. Plus Betta, 9 total.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Bio-Gold pellets, frozen blood worm cubes, Omega One Super Color flakes.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Every day, alternating days between worms and pellets/flakes.

How often do you perform a water change? Typically: whenever the water level evaporates 1/2-1" below the top frame of the aquarium (roughly 3-5 days, it's a dry area I live in.) Since Betta began to show signs of stress/illness: Every day/every other day.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 3-3.5g (~30%), with a dedicated 13qt bucket.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Typically: API Stress Coat+, API pH Down. Currently: API Stress Coat+, API pH Down, API Aquarium Salt (1/2 10g aquarium dose), Melafix (1/2 10g aquarium dose.) We have high pH water and run on a septic tank. There are a bunch of pot growers in the woods of the town just up the mountain from us, and we know for sure that all their fertilizers, plus the chemicals used to neutralize them, are running downhill and making our water quality terrible. :x

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I get it tested every one or two weeks (maybe a little TOO often xD ) at the local farm store, which is the only pet supply place in town. For being a small town place, they have a really good selection of fish and supplies, and a seemingly knowledgeable and caring staff for each animal types section.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.0
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He went from a near solid black with faint amounts of red and a partially translucent tail, to a dark blackish brown with lots more red, to now being an almost smoked glass version of himself with VERY see-through fins all over, almost completely translucent body with a silver underside, and dark horizontal stress stripes on each side with clamped fins!
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's quite lethargic, more wants to stay resting out of sight in the cave, hidden in the leaves of one of the silk plants, or alternating between laying on the gravel and floating at the waters surface. He was very recently explorative of his environment and swam smoothly, now his swimming is in jerky motions. He also seems kind of bloated, but that's most likely from stuffing himself on his tankmates shares of food! xD
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 4-5 days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Frequent water changes with a gravel hose, API Stress Coat+, Melafix, API Aquarium Salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None I'm aware of. The feed store takes pretty good care of their animals. He was in a bowl much bigger than the typical Betta cups, and had a nice little bubble nest started. I have only had him for 8 days. :-(
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure. He's much smaller than my last Betta, though I know DTs are supposed to be a bit smaller?

Aquarium history: I bought the 10g aquarium kit from PetCo while it was on sale, with dreams of putting my original Betta in it with a small community tank. This is my first aquarium. I bought a set of 2 small bottles (API Stress Coat+ and Quick Start) labeled as an aquarium cycle starter kit (or something like that). I got that started, added some rocks and a cave (which my original Betta never used, anyway) to the tank as a bacteria base, and waited 1 or 2 weeks (hard to remember now) for it to cycle. First fish I added to the tank were 1 Black Neon and 3 Neon Tetras from PetSmart. I waited the better part of a week to make sure none of them got sick on me. Then on the last day of their big fish sale (coincidentally the same day they got in a new batch of fish...) I picked up 2 more Black Neons and 3 African Dwarf Frogs to finish off the community for my tank.

I wait the better part of a week again, no signs of illness. After a final good water change and conditioning, I finally add my Betta! He LOVES his new home! He flares at the Tetras a little at first, and darts after them for all of 3 inches if they swim past him, but otherwise he's very chill about them. See no fin nipping or signs of any serious harassment from any resident in the tank.

A day or two goes by. Come home to find one of the Black Neons dead. It's kind of yellow, but no signs otherwise of illness or injury. Inspect the other fish, one Black Neon is almost completely devoid of all fins! ALL fins! That one is found dead in the morning (maybe 12 hours later? Probably less.) This one has a white fuzz on it. Uh-oh.

Regular Neons have a couple of chunks missing from their tail fins, though nothing serious. Doubtful of fin-nipping, as have not seen any aggression. Betta looks normal. The 3rd and final Black Neon, again - less than 12 hours later, has developed what looks like a cotton ball on the side of its head, on top of the gill flap. It is found dead in the morning.

At this point I was dosing with Melafix and aquarium salt. At no point did my ADFs show any signs of illness.

Once cherry-red VT Betta now has a solid silver underside from chin to anal fins. Tip of his tail fin appears to be developing rot. Continued water changes and Melafix/salt. Within a day or two the last 1/2" tip of his tail is translucent and hanging by a thread. He was also very pale bodied and developing the same cottony white patches the Black Neon had. Becomes lethargic, though still eats like a pig. Within another couple days he develops a very erratic swimming motion, and is dead at the bottom of the tank within an hour.

The next morning, after consulting the farm store, I pull out the heater, plants, and hides, then sanitize them inside a clean bucket with hot water and a cap full of regular Clorox. I rinse these all thoroughly and allow them to dry completely. Smelled no sign of bleach, so put everything back in the tank.

My 3 Neons and 3 ADF appear to be fat and healthy still, about 13 days later. Have since added 2 more Neons (healthy ones from the farm store, this time!), and a new Betta to the aquarium.

TL/DR: My inexperience with keeping fish, and possibly ill Tetras from Petsmart, killed my original Betta.​

Now, as for my current, MOSTLY alive Betta, Phantom!

Here's his beautiful self before he became stressed/ill!

He has undergone a DRASTIC color change/fading in the past 3 days or so. For a day or two, his color seemed fine but his top tail fin looked like a twisted moustache.

And a couple days later now... Depending on the light he's almost completely see-through, and ALL his fins are clamped! He's also breathing a little heavily, but he'd been doing that since I bought him...

(Phantom and my Neons all thought they were about to be fed their dinner here... :roll: )

Do you think he's just stressed? I see no other real signs of illness besides his translucency and clamped fins, the water temp seems to have been stable, and the rest of the community seems to be perfectly healthy! Could it be that being around the Neons is stressing him out? Could he be ill from residual bacteria in the filter?

My filter, by the way, has the most awful stench to it! When I rinse it out in my bucket of old tank water during water changes, the stink just sticks to my hands... The aquarium water itself doesn't smell like roses, either. Should I change the filter media completely, as I still have the original one in it? Or would that ruin the chemistry in the tank?

Is there something wrong with the water that the typical water test doesn't check that could be causing this? Is Melafix, Aquarium Salt, Stress Coat+, 30% water change every day the best treatment to continue?

I can't stand the heartbreak of losing another Betta. Please help me save Phantom!

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I should also add that I'm not dead sure, but the clamping and stress lines might have started when I added a few more silk plants into the tank. That may just be coincidence, though.

1,899 Posts
Wow. That's a lot of text.

First, get a hospital tank and separate him from the other fish. You should NEVER treat an entire tank unless everyone is experiencing the outbreak or it is something contagious. Treatment is stressful on their bodies, and you are needlessly stressing the other fish. Also, you should never treat a fish unless you know whats wrong. Mistreatment can kill a fish.

Next, I would get your own liquid test kit. Most stores use strip tests, which are not that accurate. API Liquid tests are great. Your numbers don't make sense to me. Also, your tank isn't cycled based on those numbers, and with your stocking... something seems off.

Third, I would recommend thinking about rehoming the tetras and frogs. Not all fish can be in community tanks. And, ADF's are known to nip at long tailed fish and Tetras are known to stress Bettas because of their behaviors.

Finally, he looks stressed. You don't treat that with meds or salts. Meds and salts will just make it worse in most situations.
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